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What Makes a Good CV

5 min

So you need to put together a CV, but you’re not sure where to start. First, a CV is not your whole life story. Each CV you send out should be tailored to a specific role. This doesn’t mean that you need to write a new CV for every role but there are ways to personalise it. There are 7 main sections in a CV and below are some tips for each;

1. Contact Details

Not only is this section important because it contains all the information an employer needs to contact you for an interview but it’s also the very first impression the employer will get of you.

  • Name – there is no need to have Curriculum Vitae in large font across the top. Use this space for your name, use font size 18 and bold

  • Address – include your full address and some companies will use your postal address to correspond about interviews etc – even in the digital age it’s important to cover all forms of communication!

  • Email Address – this should be a professional email address. Avoid addresses such as [email protected]. Even better, set up an email account just for applying for jobs. That way you won’t miss any important emails that get caught up among all many emails we receive on a daily basis

  • Phone Number – Give your main contact number, usually your mobile number, and make sure you have a professional voicemail message. Remember, if a potential employer calls and you can’t answer your voicemail will be the first impression you make on them!

  • LinkedIn URL – If you have a LinkedIn Profile set up and you are happy that it’s up to date then include it on your CV. Employers can Google candidates so it’s great to give them a direct link to an online profile that will compliment your CV

Other things to include with your contact details:

  • Links to your professional website or blog, if it is related to the area you are applying

  • Visa Status – be clear with an employer what your current Visa status is

2. Career Profile

It’s best to keep your Career Profile succinct and factual. From this section you want the employer to know your qualifications, your experience/area of interest and what you are looking for. For example;

BA (Hons) in Business Studies Graduate from Griffith College with 2 years Customer Service experience and an interest in Human Resource Management. Currently seeking an entry level role within the Financial Services sector

Many people include their skills and personal attributes in the Career Profile. I find it's best to include a separate Key Skills section which we’ll look at next.

3. Key Skills

Always choose the key skills that reflect the role you are applying for. Make sure you understand the job spec and can identify the skills that are most important. Your CV should always be a response to a job ad. A great tip – include an example of how you’ve used the skill. For example;

  • IT – Proficient user of Microsoft Office applications and an experienced user of SAP

  • Communications – Delivery of presentation to colleagues at monthly management meetings

4. Education History

When talking about your Education History think of all the opportunities you were given as part of your time in college

2015 – Present        MSc in International Business             Griffith College Dublin

  • For each academic programme, you have studied include the dates and the institution

  • For the most recent and most relevant to the role, include overall grade, modules, thesis title, key achievements i.e. Class Rep, 1st in x module results

5. Career History

When listing your previous roles list your responsibilities using bullet points. Instead of listing tasks, identify areas of responsibilities that you held, projects you were involved in, key achievements in the role

Jun 2015 – Jan 2016    Customer Service Assistant                 ABC Electronics

  • Overall responsibility for the Customer Service Desk

  • Managing a team of 3 with primary responsibility for staff rotas, work plans and daily logistics

  • Management of Customer Service annual budget

6. Interests & Achievements

List Interests and Achievements that give an employer an insight into your personality and make sure they are genuine interests that you can have a discussion about if they come up in an interview.

7. References

Available on request – Always seek permission from a reference before passing on their details

CV Writing Help

If you need help or advice in writing your CV, cover letter or interview tips, please get in touch with Emma, our dedicated Careers Advisor.